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tv   US Senate  CSPAN  November 29, 2016 10:00am-12:31pm EST

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legislation that would require hhs to expand health care programs in rural areas. a vote on passage is that her 11:30 a.m. this morning. live now to the floor of the u.s. senate here on the stand to you. -- c-span2. the president pro tempore: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black , will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. o god, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come, thank you for the spirit of contentment we can receive from you, bringing quietness and faith to our hearts.
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today, use our senators for your purposes, enabling them to live worthy of your name. may the words they speak bring edification and unity as they build bridges of cooperation. give them the wisdom to depart from strife, remembering that soft answers turn away anger. inspire them to avoid contention in their search for common ground. give them cheerful hearts and optimistic spirits. we pray in your great name. amen.
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the president pro tempore: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to our flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
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mr. mcconnell: mr. president, i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent that further proceedings under the quorum call dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i understand there's a bill at the desk due a second reading. the presiding officer: the clerk will read the title of the bill for a second time. the clerk: h.r. 6297, an act to reauthorize the iran sanctions act of 1996. mr. mcconnell: in order to place the bill on the calendar under provisions of rule 14, i would object to further proceedings. the presiding officer: objection is heard. the bill will be placed on the calendar. mr. mcconnell: i now ask unanimous consent that at a time to be determined between the majority leader after consultation with the democratic leader, the senate proceed to the consideration of h.r. 6297 which was received from the house. further, that the bill be read a
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third time and the senate vote on passage of the bill with no intervening action or debate. finally, if passed, that the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. mr. reid: mr. president, reserving the right to object. the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. reid: thank you. the chair of the ranking member of the intelligence committee, senator feinstein has had some trouble with this. i spoke to her last night. she said go ahead and let this go. she's totally in agreement now that there would be time for debate on this issue and a vote. we understand that. so i have no objection to this matter. the presiding officer: without objection. so ordered. mr. mcconnell: so this week senators will have a chance to pass the iran sanctions extension bill that recently passed the house on an overwhelming vote. preserving the sanctions is critical given iran's disturbing pattern of aggression and its persistent efforts to expand its
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influence across the middle east. it's all more important given how the administration has ignored iran's efforts to upset the balance of power in the greater middle east and how it's been held hostage by iran's threats to withdraw from the nuclear agreement. the authorities extended by this bill give us some of the tools needed to impose sanctions if necessary to hold iran accountable and help keep americans safer from this threat. i expect that next year the new congress and the new administration will undertake a review of our overall policy toward iran and these authorities should remain in place as we address how best to deal with the iranian missile test, support to hezbollah, and support of the syrian regime. as we come to the end of this year and of this congress, we'll continue our efforts to complete the business before us. members have been working
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diligently on their respective conference committees to conclude the outstanding conference reports on the defense authorization bill, the water ways infrastructure and resources bill, and the energy policy modernization bill. i look forward to the full senate taking up these measures as they are available so we can pass final legislation to be signed into law. in the coming days, the senate will also consider a critical and bipartisan medical innovation bill known as the 21st century cures as well as a continuing resolution to keep the government funded and carry us into the spring. mr. reid: note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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quorum call: the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. reid: i can consent the quorum call be terminated.
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the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: mr. president, yesterday it was -- at the university of las vegas and deserves some attention here this morning and i'll take brief time talking about that. the students who operate that newspaper made the bold decision to change the name of the newspaper. it's been going on for, somewhat controversial now for quite some time. the newspaper will no longer be called "the rebel yell." there were many who felt that that was a disparaging name for the paper, that the civil war ended a long time ago, and we shouldn't hearken back to the civil war and the confederacy for that newspaper. now the newspaper will be scald the "scarlet gray, the free press." i'm happy to have brian here who
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is a member of my press staff who is the editor and chief of that newspaper. he ran the newspaper when he was at unlv. i'm proud of the students who did this. seven months ago when the students announced their intention to change the name of the paper, i publicly supported them. now that they've followed through, i'm amazed by their leadership and their courage in doing the right thing. the name change wasn't easy. there was a lot of debate swirling around this issue on campus and throughout the state, but these students were more interested in unifying the student body and rejecting hateful symbols of racism and a divisive past rather than hiding behind tradition. now it's time for the university and the administration especially do the right thing and get rid of their rebel mass scott. while these young men and women, what they've done is a lesson for all of us. some politicians, state
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legislatures and national football -- and the football league -- national football league can learn a thing or two from these students. i applaud them for doing the right thing. they've long been an independent voice for the students and i congratulate my able staff member brian for urging me to move forward on this matter for many months now. mr. president, as the republican leader mentioned a minute or to -- two ago, the senate has important work to do before this congress can come to a close. one of the pieces of legislation that has to be addressed is the cures act. scaled-back version of the 21st century cures legislation, the house is scheduled to consider tomorrow. the staffs of the senate help committee, house judiciary and commerce committee have worked countless hours on this bill. they've missed time with their families and given up vacations
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in hopes of reaching a bipartisan agreement for more than a year. there are many priorities in this bill to address, funding for opioid which has been an ongoing problem, with all the deaths occurring a daily basis, we've done nothing to help with that. nothing. we of course are concerned about cancer and the advocacy of vice president biden and the so-called moonshot are important provisions for the national institutes of health. there are other key issues outstanding that will need to be resolved in this matter. it's my understanding that the committee work continues in the house and we can expect a managers amendment and house rules committee sometime tonight. so we're all eager to see what that is going to be. we know it's different from the senate bill which we felt very good about. by the end of next week, we'll have to pass new legislation to ensure that the government
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doesn't shut down for lack of funding. but also we also have to be concerned what happens with that cures act. is this going to be put over again as we put over opioid funding time and time again over the past several years? are we going to move forward with something that's constructive in nature? right now there's some angst in my caucus about what we should do. now, funding, i'm very disappointed that republican leadership appears unwilling to pass a comprehensive bill that reflects the careful and considered judgment of the appropriations committee. with only days left in this congress, we should be working on a bipartisan bill in a manner that's bipartisan, set out our priorities but that's not happening. we should be funding initiatives that serve important needs and eliminate others that are wasteful and of a lower priori priority. instead it appears we're going to pass another continuing
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resolution that just sets the government on autopilot potentially for many months. the exact months we don't know. there is some dispute among the republican leadership as to long the c.r. is going to be. this is punting for lack of a better description. the only thing we can do is punt and see what happens. it's irresponsible and it's wasteful and it's not the way we should be doing the business of this congress. mr. president, i would ask that -- announce the business of the day. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, the senate will be in a period of morning business until 11:00 a.m. with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each. the assistant democratic leader. mr. durbin: 15 years ago i had a woman contact my office in chicago. she had a problem. it turned o -- out that here daughter who was about 17 or 18 years old at
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the time had an extraordinary musical talent and had been accepted as a student at manhattan conservatory of music as well as the juilliard school of music in new york. the problem was that her daughter was undocumented. she brought her little girl to the united states at the age of 2. teresa lee, this korean girl, was raised in the united states by a family of very modest means, but she showed extraordinary talent at music, so much so that she was accepted at these great schools. when she went to fill out the application form, they asked her her nationality, citizenship status. she turned to her mother and said what should i put here? her mother said i never filed any papers after we brought you to this country so i don't know. they called our office and the law was very clear. this young girl who for 15 or 16 years had grown up in chicago, modest circumstances, gone to school, done well, excelled in her music, was in fact undocumented.
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under the law of the united states of america, the only recourse for her -- and it's still the case -- was to leave this country for ten years and apply to come back. ten years. i thought to myself this little girl had nothing to say when the family decided to move to the united states when she was 2 years of age. she wasn't consulted. she didn't make a conscious decision. she in fact did everything she was expected to do in her life. she grew up believing that she would be an american, that she would be part of this country's future, but she was in this undocumented status, an uncertain status. that's why 15 years ago i introduced the dream act that said for young women and men like teresa lee, we'll give you a chance. if you were brought here as a child to the united states and you've gone through school and done well, you have no serious criminal issues that worry us, we'll give you a chance to earn your way into legal status and ultimately citizenship. well, the dream act was
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introduced 15 years ago and over the last 15 years it's passed in the house some years, the senate other years. it's never become the law of the land. it was a few years ago that i wrote a letter to then-president obama, still president obama, and asked him as a cosponsor of my dream act could he do something to help these young people who were fearful that they were going to be deported. senator lugar of indiana, a republican, joined me in the letter and later some 20 other senators joined as well. president obama studied it, asked his attorney general and others to find a path. he created an executive order. that executive order allows those who have been in the status of teresa lee a chance under the deferred action for childhood arrivals program or daca program, to sign up with the government, to register with the government, to pay a filing fee of almost $500, to go through a criminal background
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check, and for that, if approved, receive a two-year temporary and renewable status. that status would allow them to stay in the united states without fear of deportation and would allow them to work. well, since the president signed the executive order, 744,000 young people have taken advantage of it. many of their parents warned them. they said be careful. if you sign up with this government and tell them you're not here legally, they might use it against you. some of those students, young people and their parents came to me with that concern, and i said to them as long as you are following the law, as long as you are paying the fee, submitting yourself to a criminal background check and understand this is only a temporary situation that can be renewed, do it. be part of america. be part of obeying the law and following the law and ultimately i think it will be to your benefit. i could not have imagined when i gave that advice that we would be facing a new president coming
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in in just a few weeks with a totally different view on immigration. that president-elect donald trump has said some very hurtful and divisive things about immigration during the course of his campaign, but fortunately for us it appears that he is reflecting on those statements now, and some of those he's modifying if not changing. i hope he'll do the same when it comes to this. these 744,000 daca-eligible currently in the program as well as others who would be eligible should be given their chance in america. as long as they are no threat to our country, we should capitalize on their talents, on the education that they have received that we paid for and give them a chance to make america better. as i have stood here many times, i will today and tell the story of just one of these students. it's one thing to talk about what they might bring to this country. it's another thing to get to know them a little bit. this is a photograph of yuri
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hernandez. yuri was 3 years old when her family brought her to the united states from mexico. she grew up in coos bay, oregon. in high school, she was an honor roll student, active in her community. she was an active member of the key club, the key juan is service -- the kiwanis service program for students. she went on to attend the university of portland where she graduated with a branch lor's degree in social work. she received numerous awards, was involved in many extra curricular and volunteer activities. she was vice president of the social work club, a board member of the national association of social workers and a member of oregonians against human trafficking. when you hear about her record in college and what she has achieved, remember this. this young lady did not qualify for one penny of federal assistance. because she is undocumented, because she is a dreamer, she was ineligible for the things that many students take for
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granted in america -- pell grants, government loans. yuri had to find another way to do this. she had to work her way through school, borrowing money from parents. she faced hardships that many students don't face, but she overcame them, and that speaks to her, her character and her determination. she volunteered as a tutor for at-risk elementary school students, and during her senior year in college, she was a full-time student n and a full-time worker to pay for her college education. do we need persons in america like yuri? so determined, so committed to their future that they're willing to make sacrifices many students don't make? well, of course we do. yuri is now a graduate student at the university of michigan social work. again, she doesn't qualify for any government assistance to go to school. she's planning a graduate degree in master's in social work in the fall of 2017, and she still
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finds time to tutor and mentor high school students. she wants to give back to america. she wrote me a letter, and here's what yuri said about the daca program -- "daca opened a lot of doors. i no longer wake up every day fearing that i could be picked up and deported out of the united states. daca changed my life completely and allowed me to use my education." would america be better if yuri is deported, if she is sent away from this country to a country she has never known, one that she was taken away from when she was a child of 3 years of age? i think the answer's obvious. and for her and for thousands just like her, this is a moment of testing. will we in the united states of america, this nation of immigrants, this diverse nation which believes in fairness and justice, give to the dreamers those daca recipients their chance to prove themselves?
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will we hold these children responsible for decisions made by their parents or will we give them their own chance in life? mr. president, over the last few weeks, i have been back home to illinois and i have talked to a lot of people who have come to know these daca recipients and dreamers. many of these young people are despondent. they're afraid that with the new president, they're going to lose any protection they currently have from deportation. some of them descrifn to despair. some have decide -- some have been driven to despair. some have decided to leave the country. in some rare cases, there have been cases of suicide in their despondency. we can do br in america. we could say to these young people while congress debates immigration and its future, we will make certain that they are not penalized and hurt in the process. for yuri and thousands just like her, we owe it to them to give them their chance. mr. president, i yield the floor and i suggest the absence of a
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quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from mississippi. mr. wicker: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be vacated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. wicker: mr. president, i come to the floor to express my support for the echo act, which the senate will be voting on in approximately one hour. this represents bipartisan work, another bipartisan achievement during this very productive term of congress. in this case, it is senators hatch and schatz who have led us to this morning's vote. the echo act is named after
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project echo, an innovative telehealth-inspired model originally conceived at the university of new mexico. project echo has created promising opportunities for primary care clinicians to receive high-quality specialty training remotely. in this way, the most remote patient and the most -- in the most underserved area can receive specialized care by his hometown doctor or provider. i'm a long-time supporter of using technology and in telehealth to improve patients' access to quality care. new mexico is a state with many rural areas like my state of mississippi, so for that reason, mississippi and new mexico have had to be leaders in innovative
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health care models for the years. the echo project in new mexico, the university of mississippi medical center in jackson, mississippi. at ummc, we are national leaders in providing technology-enabled care remotely. while echo emphasizes training among professionals, university of mississippi medical center has used remote technology for clinical care and patient monitoring. since 2003, the medical center in jackson has reached more than a half million rural mississippians through the united states of telehealth. today the program includes more than 30 specialties and can reach patients at more than 200 clinical sites.
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like senator hatch, i have reached across the aisle to work with our friend from hawaii, senator schatz, to expand an innovative model for the rest of the country. specifically, i worked this year with senator schatz on the connect for health act, which has been endorsed by nearly 100 organizations. like connect, the echo act aims at taking a proven approach to technology-enabled care and bringing it to underserved populations across the country. the connect for health act, which is s.2484, would be a small but significant step toward payment parity for telehealth services under the medicare program, in addition -- removing specific barriers to telemedicine. the bill would allow for coverage of certain remote patient monitoring services for
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patients with multiple chronic diseases. remote patient monitoring is a model that the university of mississippi medical center has used to expand access, improve quality, and reduce hospital admissions for some of our state's most underserved populations. so i want to thank senator schatz for his leadership on connect for health and also on echo, which again we'll be voting on in just a few moments. and i extend my utmost appreciation to senator schatz and to senator hatch and the finance committee for including policies inspired by our connect for health act in a bipartisan chronic care outline. i'm confident that proposals to advance telehealth can improve access and cut costs, and i look forward to seeing connect enacted also. but today i am pleased and
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thrilled that we're taking an important step forward with the passage of the echo act. and i yield the floor. mr. cardin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator maryland. mr. cardin: mr. president, i would ask consent to spea speakr up to 15 minutes. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. cardin: mr. president, i come to the floor today to speak on behalf of a resolution i will file today on the emmol em-- emt clause. the founding fathers were clear in their belief that any federal officeholder of the united states must never be put in a position where he or she could be influenced by a foreign governmental actor. article 1, section 9, clause 8, of the united states constitution known as the emolument clause declares that -- and i quote -- "no title of
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nobility shall be granted by the united states and no person holding any office of trust under them shall without the consent of congress accept of any president emolument title whatever from any king, prince of any state." the president of the united states has the head of the skiver branc -- executive brancf government clearly operates an office of trust. the emolument clause clearly applies to and constrains whom ever holds the office of the prey presidency. for those who claim to value a strict interpretation of the constitution and to place upholding the constitution above partisan plirks the unambiguous reading is clear an evident. put system plirks the american public has a right to know that the president of the united states is acting in their best interest and not because he or she has received some benefit or gift from a foreign government
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like russia or china -- or any foreign entity. they need to know that the president of the united states is making decisions about potential trade agreements, sending troops into war, or where we spend america's great resources based on what is in the purpose interest and not because it would advance the president's private pecuniary interests. the founding fathers' concerns on this subject were near the abstract nor baseless. alexander hamilton made reference to this in "the federalist" papers. the polish lithuania commonwealth was in the process of being dismembered by their gnashes. pro shah and russia. poland's neighbors bribed polish government officials and succeeded in paralyzing the state for decades. the founding fathers placed the emolument clause an explicit bar so that we may avoid poland's
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fate. the emolument clause has not been a section of the constitution that's had to be of concern in this body, nor is there voluminous case history detailing its interpretation with regard to the highest offices of the executive branch. this is because, mr. president, every president, from george washington to barack obama, have taken great pains to avoid even the appearance of impropriety, ensuring that such investments never interfere with performing their duties as president of the united states. that is why over the past four decades, president ronald reagan, george herbert walker bush, bill clinton, george w. bush, all had their assets placed into a blind trust while they were president. president obama went even further because he wanted to fulfill his promises of greater transparency. he invested the most of his funds into u.s. treasury bond.
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i wish that the well-established precedent and practice would make it unnecessary to seek and move this resolution today. i wish that president-elect would continue the long-standing tradition of presidential traditions. in september mr. trump said that if he were elected he would absolutely sever ties to the trump organization. despite that pledge, it has since become clear that absent intervention by this body, the president-elect may not follow the precedents established by his predecessors. and he may well place himself in our -- and our constitution in jeopardy. as a separate and coequal branch of of government rk, the senates an obligation to safeguard our constitution. it is to the constitution, after all, not the person or position, that we each swear our oath of office and to nourish the republican virtues that allowed our nation and government to flourish. we dmows so because -- we must
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do so because following the election, it appears that president-elect trump may have changed his mind about the promises he made as he sought office. mr. trump's lawyers announced that the trump organization would be placed into a -- quote -- "blind trust" -- end quote -- managed by donald trump's older children, donald trump jr., ivanka trump, and eric trump. let me be clear, as the gravity of this issue demands absolute clarity. the financial arrangements described by mr. trump and his lawyers is not a blind trust. it just isn't. and we can't allow mr. trump or his lawyers to trick us -- or the american people -- into thinking that it's just because they use that term. a true blind trust, including one established by past presidents, is an arrangement where the official has no control over, will receive no communications about and will have no knowledge of the identity of the specific assets
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held in the trust and the trust managers operate independently of the owner. the arrangement described by mr. trump and his lawyers is not independent. mr. trump is well-aware of the specific assets held and he can receive communications about and take action to affect the values of of such assets. the idea that president-elect trump's children -- is not credible. this is not a blind trust and is not an arrangement that will ensure compliance with the emolument clause of the united states constitution. beaver mr. trump has -- mr. trump has said that there is no one like him who has ever obama president of the united states. on that point he may well be connect. h. -- he may well be correct. mr. trump may well violate the office the day he takes office. the purpose of my resolution today is to convey to the president-elect that there is still time for him had to avoid this constitutional conflict. some might ask why -- why should
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anyone care? it is not hard to imagine circumstances in which a foreign governmental actor will want to give president trump gifts so they can curry favor with him and hope to influence his decisions in a way that benefit them when the president's decisions should benefit the american people. precisely the danger our founding fathers sought to protect against with the emolument clause. this is not an esoteric argument about rules that do not affect real people. the american public has the right to know if president trump will at th put our military in s way to protect america's national security or to protect the latest trump tower in some far-off country. they have a right know if the trade agreements negotiated by the new administration will benefit american businesses, farmers, workers, and consumers or whether they will benefit some trump company or hotel. donald trump's business network, the trump organization, has financial interests around the world and negotiates and
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concludes transactions with foreign states and entities thr extensions of foreign states. to give but one example of how bad things can get if mr. trump is allowed to stay connected to his businesses, in azerbaijan, the trump organization partnered with billionaire anar momado to build a 33-story tower. momado's father is a confidant of the president of azerbaijan. there have been allegations that this billionaire's company and companies that he is connected to have profited from more than a billion dollars worth of transportation contracts related to his father's position in the strption ministry. a former u.s. ambassador to azerbaijan in the 1990's and an advisor to the director of national intelligence under george w. bush has said of this deal, "threes not business people working on their oafnlt you are they're dealing with dad did i."
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there are a great many knacks, none of which we should emulate with lines between officials of government are blurred or owe beliefated. for that reason, the office of legal counsel has stated that corporations owned or controlled by foreign governments are presumptively foreign states under the emolument clause. we should all be concerned when the president-elect is connected to an organization that has dealings with countries and entities harass not interested in distinguishing between doing business with president trump and the profit-making organization that bears his naivment we run the risk of turning the united states of america, our legal system, our financial system, our trade agreements, our military into subsidiaries of trump -- of trump organization. it has been reported that the trump international hotel in washington, d.c., has been patronized by an increasing number of foreign dignitaries and did i p.l.o. matters because of mr. -- diplomats because of
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mr. trump's organization. onisn't it rude if i come to the city and say that i'm staying at your competitors? #*s likewise, news reports suggest that one day after a phone call between president trump and -- president-elect trump were suddenly approved and in china just days after the presidential election, donald trump scored a legal victory if a decade-long trade dispute over the right to use the trump name for real estate agent services and commercial and residential properties in china. the timing of these actions is interesting to mutt it mildly. the appearance of intermingle being between the business of trump organizations and the work of government has already begun. to site mr. trump's campaign policewoman to sever ties to the trump organization, "i'll have e
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my children run the company and i won't discuss it with them." his children have been named to the transition team's executive committee, the same children who are supposedly managing the trump organization without discussing it with him. in those positions they have the ability to offer counsel as to which personnel are selected to critical posts in the new trrch administration. ivanka trump reportedly has been present during mr. trump's congratulatetory calls. donald trump jr. reportedly met in secret prior to the elections with pro-hewings politicians to discuss syrian policy. mr. trump met with indian real estate developers. they discussed with the trump family about additional real estate deals. the list goes on and on and the totality of engagements and
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potential implications are deeply disturbing. yet president-elect trump has done nothing to ensure that the he will put the interests of the american people above those of himself and his children and that he will enshould that you are the president is not placed in a position where he might be vulncial to foreign influence or even the appearance of foreign influential. while mr. trump or his advisors may say "trust us," let us remember when john adams said, "we are a government of laws but not of men." iit was the enduring wisdom of our founders to recognize that not all men are angels. we place trust in the constitution itself, not individuals. mr. trump's wealth and business interests must yield to the united states constitution those wide ranging interests make us realize how critical the constitutional prohibition, of foreign gifts is. the business that the trump organization does overseas in places like scotland, argentina,
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india, cannot help but be far from mr. trump's mind when he discusses matters. poll -- matters of policies with foreign heads of state. this is not because the president-elect is any more susceptible to these temptations than anyone else. it's simply because as the founding fathers recognize, we are humans, not angels. when insight into human conditions illicited the precise fear articulated by our founding fathers. leaders who receive gifts and payments from foreign governments, being human may not act in the best interests of the american people. to quote richard painer, an expert in ethics and advisor to george w. bush, imagine where we would be today if franklin roosevelt had owned apartment buildings in franklin or berlin. some of us might be speaking german. i'm extremely troubled by mr. trump's recent remarks on this subject. on november 22, president-elect trump stated, the law's totally on my side meaning the president
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can't have a conflict of interest. in typical trump slight of the hand, he selectively picks his own facts as he shows a troubling callous disregard for our constitution and for the duties he owes to the american people. while the president, vice president, members of congress and federal judges may be granted specific limited exemptions from the conflict of interest so that they may act and carry out their duties, the law does not supersede the constitution, nor, frankly, have anything to do with the very specific provisions of the emollment clause, preventing foreign government financial influence over the president. the president-elect is not doing enough to avoid such conflicts and what brings me to the floor today, an overall -- according to one new poll is troubling to nearly 60% of the people of this country. the limited exception to the conflict of interest statute recognizes there are certain public officials whose authority to act should not be held in
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question. the ability to act does not cure the restrictions in the emolument clause of the constitution. the constitution is the ultimate law of the land. not the president, mr. trump apparently does not appreciate the reasons the law -- because previous presidents have had the wisdom and personal forbearance not to seek to put this question to the test. we have tested the unfortunate proposition that when the president does, it means that it is not illegal before and congress and service of the constitution, the american people have found that not to be the case. no one is above the law. no one is above the constitution, including the president of the united states. president-elect trump has also tweeted, prior to the election it was well known i have interests and properties all over the world. this is undoubtedly true but the american people in voting for a candidate cannot indeed -- would not want to excuse a potential future violation of the constitution by that candidate.
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president-elect trump's attempt to imply because he won the election, the constitution somehow does not apply to him is irresponsible and disrespectful. it would be disrespectful to the constitution, it is truly disrespectful to the american people who are trusting their future of their children, their livelihood and their safety to decisions mr. trump will make once he becomes president. could i ask for three additional minutes? the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. cardin: we must do everything we come to protect our constitution, the democracy and the american people from such recklessness. mr. president, the aim of my resolution is straightforward. it takes a strict interpretation of the plain words of the constitution and supports the traditional values and practices adopted by previous presidents. it simply calls on president-elect trump to follow the president's -- precedence established by prior presidents and convert his assets to simple, conflict free holdings, adopt line trust managed by truly independent trustees with no relationship to mr. trump or his businesses or to take other
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equivalent measures. it calls upon the president-elect to refrain from using the powers or opportunities of his position for any purpose related to the trump organization. and it makes it clear if mr. trump does not take appropriation actions to separate his ties to his businesses, congress will have no chose given the oath to protect and defend the constitution that etch and every member -- each and every member has taken and any dealings he has -- as a potential violation of the emolument clause. as richard payneer observed, it should send a clear message to mr. trump he should divest his assets and that he will regard his dealings with his companies that he owns abroad and any entities owned by foreign governments as a potential violation of the emolument clause unless he can prove it was an arms' length transaction. it makes it clear to president-elect trump that we care about the constitution and our democracy and that the american people really are watching and that we won't be
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distracted from caring about these things. i want to close by observing that because of strong feelings and passion generated by recent elections, some might be attempted to view this resolution and its aim through a distorting prism of politics. nothing could be further from the truth. i strongly support a smooth transition between the obama administration and the trump administration. i want the trump administration to have the support for congress to succeed on behalf of the american people. but when mr. trump deviates from his constitutional responsibilities or recommends policies that are contrary total core values of our nation, members of congress have an obligation to speak out and to act. i stand here today because i believe that congress has an stiewl constitutional obligation to ensure the president of the united states whom so ever that is does not violate our constitution. acts lawfully and ob gaitions on a broad -- obligations on the broad interest of the american
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people. my resolution is not intended to create a misunderstanding or crisis but to avoid one so president-elect trump can put aside any appearance of impropriety and devote himself to the good work on behalf of the american people. we owe it to president-elect trump to make it very clear what our expectations are ahead of his inauguration day. why? so we can avoid constitutional crisis. such a crisis would not serve in the best interest of the president, congress, or the american people. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. hatch: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. hatch: mr. president, today the senate is voting on s. 2873, the echo act. in april senators had some and i introduced this bill to highlight the impressive work of technology enabled collaborative learning and capacity building models. once such model that's brought promising new ideas to our nation's health care delivery system is project echo which started in new mexico and quickly expected to utah.
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today the project is thriving in more than 30 states. mr. president, our bill draws on the success of project echo to improve health services on a national scale. our proposal is not political. rather it is the combination of a broad bipartisan effort to bring about meaningful health care reform that will benefit families across the country in red states and blue states alike. our legislation improves medical services for all americans by providing health care professionals in rural and underserved communities with access to a network of peers and specialists who can teach specialty care. by connecting doctors and nurses with teams of experts, patients can receive the care they need when they need it and most importantly, patients won't have to travel long distances to receive treatments. they can stay close to home and receive treatment from doctors
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they know and trust. in today's bustling health care environment, policymakers often forget that health care delivery works differently in urban and rural settings. to bridge the urban rural divide, the echo act brings expertise to providers serving rural populations by enabling them to gain the skills they need to care for people living in their communities. through this exchange, urban providers in return can learn how rural health is operationallized in real time. ultimately our proposal prioritizes rural health needs and reconciles differences in care delivery for diverse populations. today i am grateful that a majority of my colleagues have agreed to support this forward thinking, common sense legislation.
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like the 21st century cures bill, our proposal demonstrated -- demonstrates our common commitment to improving health care for all patients. telehealth is a topic of particular interest in my home state of utah. under the existing project echo, -- project echo programs, experts based at the university of utah used videoconferencing to train health care professionals who are hundreds, sometimes even thousands of miles away. as we work to improve telehealth, models like those in the echo act will enable telementorship and provider education to occur via avenues more tailored to health professionals' needs. this customization is an essential step to achieving person-centered health care. mr. president, as a body we must be dedicated to improving health
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services for all americans no matter where they live. through this bill, we are making significant project towards achieving that goal using groundbreaking new technologies. the echo act will enable us to take better care of our family members, neighbors, and friends bring putting communication front and center, project echo will allow health professionals to share innovations and new discoveries in an efficient, timely manner. before turning the floor over to my esteemed colleague from hawaii who's collaboration on this proposal has proven invaluable, i first wish to share hour our legislation came to be. several months ago doctors at the university of utah, including dr. terry box and dr. vivian lee as well as some of the most renowned disease experts in the country reached out to me to demonstrate how project echo was benefiting families across utah and the
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intermountain region. their innovative approach to telehealth piqued my interest. as it turns out, senator schatz had a very similar experience with his own constituents. after discussing our shared experiences, we joined forces to draft a bill that would allow americans in rural counties access to -- across the country, rather, to reap the benefits of telehealth. the founder of project health was an instrumental partner throughout this process. he worked with us to share ideas from echo hubs across the country allowing us to incorporate a broad array of viewpoints. with his help, we were able to hear from countless stake holdzers and medical professionals who understood the potential of our legislation. we also worked alongside the leadership of the help committee. with the assistance of senators
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alexander and murray as well as the majority and minority leaders, we were able to shepherd this legislation through the committee process and bring it to the senate floor. this bill was born fresh and born from a bottom-up approach which enabled us to solicit ideas and opinions from numerous health care professionals across the country. thanks to their input and the support of members on both sides of the aisle, we are poised to pass legislation that will dramatically improve the quality of our nation's health care and i wish to thank all those who assisted in this bipartisan effort. today it's a victory for everyone involved. mr. president, i really appreciates the efforts of senator schatz and i yield the floor. shat mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from hawaii.
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mr. schatz: i thank the president pro tempore for his leadership on this issue. health care policy can be particularly vexing for those who like to get things done because over the last eight years, we've mostly just been at each other's throats arguing about the affordable care act. but we're here to talk about a bright spot, something we're not arguing about but which can reduce costs and improve outcomes. telehealth is the future of health care. it harnesses technology to provide patients with high quality care whenever and wherever they need it. and that's why we need to update medicare to take advantage of these new technologies and telemedicine and remote patient monitoring. that's why i and 18 other senators from both parties have introduced and cosponsored the connect for health act. i want to thank senator hatch for his support in including
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provisions from our bill in the senate finance committee's chronic care package. telehealth will improve the delivery of care to patients but it will also support providers by giving doctors and nurses the tools to work with and learn from each other. simply put, a lot of medical education is financially or geographically out of reach for providers on the front lines, but we can fix that using technology. it's called project echo, and that's what we're about to vote on. based at the university of new mexico and with the strong support of senators heinrich and udall, project echo has had a positive impact across the nation on patients, providers, and communities. so how does it work? imagine a v.t.c., video teleconference, with 15 people on the screen. participants assemble online two hours every week for six weeks to learn about a selected disease condition.
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for example, depression. the leader of the v.t.c. is a specialist physician from an academic medical center with a team which would include, for example, a psychologist, a pharmacist, and a social worker. throughout these six weeks the session time is divided between lessons, case presentations and discussions. providers from across the country can learn the latest best practices and develop a network of colleagues to share information and help with the hard questions. this is a game changer. this is the kind of ongoing training for folks in rural areas that has not been available until now. project echo has already been used for infectious disease outbreaks and public health emergencies such as h 1-n-1 and zika and mental health conditions such as anxiety and success friend i can't. the results -- and schizophrenia. the results are impressive.
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patients in underserved areas have better access to doctors in their own communities which decrees costs. providers feel less isolated and more connected to a network of high-quality providers across their state. as a result, they're more likely to stay in their underserved areas where they are needed the most. the health system runs more efficiently and effectively. providers have the training to see and treat more patients. we still have lots of questions about this model which is new, but among them what are the best successes? what are the barriers to adoption? for which conditions is it best suited? the echo act as amended will direct h.h.s. to study this model and give us the answers we need to make decisions at the federal level about how to best support expanding it nationally. one final note of thanks: it is not a coincidence that several of the successful health care
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related efforts this year have been the result of collaboration with and leadership of senator hatch. his bipartisan spirit, his pragmatism and his understanding of the legislative process make working with him, his staff a true pleasure. thank you, and i encourage my l colleagues to continue to join us in supporting this revolutionary health care model. the presiding officer: morning business is closed. under the previous order the committee on health, education, labor and pensions is discharged from and the senate will proceed to consideration of s. 2873, which the clerk will report. the clerk: s. 2873, a bill to require studies and reports examining the use of and opportunities to use technology-enabled collaborative learning, and so forth and for other purposes.
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the presiding officer: under the previous order there will be 30 minutes of debate equally divided in the usual form. the senator from hawaii. mr. schatz: i ask unanimous consent that the time be equally divided between both sides during the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schatz: i notice the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from montana. mr. daines: i ask the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. daines: i would like to call up amendment 5110 and ask that it be reported by number. the presiding officer: without objection. the clerk: the senator from montana, mr. daines, for mr. alexander, proposes an amendment numbered 5110.
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the presiding officer: under the previous order, the amendment is agreed to. mr. daines: mr. president, montanans have always been at the cutting edge of frontier medicine, using ingenuity and hard work to overcome the challenges of frontier and rural america to make sure we have access to high-quality health care. in fact, going back to the time that my great, great grandmother homesteaded near conrad, montana, her health care providers have worked and continue to work for increased access despite geography, weather, limited resources or government regulation. rural montanans are often hours away from a hospital, and even further away from any kind of trauma center. our local providers are the first line responders. they tackle everything from the common cold to emergency situations. it's their actions that truly can make the difference between
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life and death. rural providers give montanans access to preventative and behavioral health sciences. they help ward off chronic illness and early detection and provide care and support to cancer and other debilitating diseases. they deserve our respect, our support and resources that will help them better serve montanans, and that's why i'm honored to join my colleagues in supporting the echo act and making sure that it is passed and signed into law, and i'm thankful for the leadership of the senior senator from utah, senator hatch, who has been out front leading in this effort. because geographic location should not dictate the quality of care. this bill will promote opportunities to improve access to high-quality care in rural communities such as access to specialists in support and training for our rural health care providers. in fact, this year, the billings
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clinic launched the montana-based project echo hub in an effort to address the lack of access to mental health and substance abuse resources. because connecting rural providers with a team of specialists to collaborate, share case studies and offer support, the hub is built to be flexible, allowing these teleclinics on any topic or any disease. it also allows montana's providers to collaborate with experts and specialists at academic centers like the university of washington and the university of new mexico. because of the success of this first hub, the billings clinic will be launching two more teleclinics next year to help primary care sites access across montana to integrate behavioral health services and their practices. the echo act will promote these programs throughout the country and increase access for all
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americans. i'm thankful to see strong bipartisan support on the passage of this bill as we work together to improve rural health care. thank you, mr. president. mr. daines: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator frp montana. mr. daines: i notice the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. mr. vitter: ask unanimous consent to end the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. vitter: mr. president, at this point i ask unanimous consent to yield back all time remaining. the presiding officer: without objection, all time is yielded back. under the previous order, the clerk will read the title of the bill for the third time. the clerk: s. 2837, a bill to require studies and reports examining the use of and opportunities to use technology-enabled collaborative learning and so forth and for other purposes. the presiding officer: the question occurs on the passage of s. 2837 as amended. mr. vitter: i ask for the yeas and nays.
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the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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vote:
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vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or change their vote? if not the yeas are 97. the nays are zero. the bill as amended is passed. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from missouri. a senator: i ask unanimous consent that the senate be in a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. blunt: and, mr. president, very two requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders. the presiding officer: so noted. mr. blunt: mr. president, i want to spend a few moments today talking about adoption month, the month we're just completing. november is national adoption month. and if i could have the attention of members, mr.
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president. the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. blun i thank the senator from maryland and my colleagues for letting me talk about an issue i think every single member of the senate cares about. mr. blunt: the month of november is national adoption month. it gives us an opportunity to recognize the recent celebration of national adoption day which was november the 19 rgt. as cochair of the congressional coalition on adoption, i really had the opportunity to work with so many of our members and independent the broad bipartisan support for what we need to do to be looking and more dedicated to adoption and to child welfare issues. last year senator klobchar came
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to a new role. i'm pleased to be working with her on a resolution that would support national adoption month and national adoption day again this year. we also have the good fortune to work with members of the house. the idea that every child deserves to grow up in a loving, safe family is something that i think we can all agree on. we have a lot of agreement while we have been working with members of the congress on adoption issues over the last year. just last week, senator klobuchar, congressman trent franks, congresswoman brenda lawrence, along with me and others, finalized a comment letter to the u.s. department of state expressing concern over new international adoption regulations. we have specifically highlighted the negative impact some of the department's proposed changes could have on the adoption
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process. the adoption process seems to have gotten more complicated internationally lately, and we need to make it less complicated. we have worked many members, including the members i just mentioned, have worked very hard on behalf of families who just currently have been trying to resolve pending adoption cases from a number of countries. most recently, we have been trying to be sure that adoptions could be finalized out of the democratic republic of congo, from nepal, from uganda, guatemala and other countries as well. in june, senator klobuchar and i introduced the vulnerable children and families act which would help bring more children living without families or institutional care to find permanent homes by really enhancing our u.s. diplomatic efforts rather than making those different -- those efforts more difficult. we need to enhance what we do as a country.
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we need to enhance what we do through the state department to where we are more focused on international child welfare and ensuring that innercountry adoption to the united states becomes a more adopted and more fully developed option. i'm also continuing to support legislation to ensure american families have the resources and support they need so that adoption domestically works. specifically, the adoption tax credit, refundability act and the supportive adoptive families act. before i conclude, i want to make a few comments to really highlight three stories of foster children in missouri who are currently waiting to get the family that they would hope to have forever. according to the missouri heart gallery, more than 1,200 missouri children are in need of permanent homes. one of those, jason, age 15, is
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an expressive young guy who in his own words -- quote -- likes to play soccer when it's not too hot. that ends his quote about soccer, but he also likes art and music. he feels like he can and is creative. he's looking for a supportive family to call that family his own family and who will also help him stay in contact with his brothers and sisters. michelle, who is 9 years old, loves to dance and hopes to have her own pets in the future. however, you can tell her and she can tell you that she would really rather have a dog rather than a cat, but what she would really like to find is a family, a family where she could have sisters, a family who would allow her to stay in touch with her by -- biological sister as well. lastly, terrance age 13 and
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terrian age 10 are brothers with a special bond. when you first meet terrance, he seems shy but after getting to know him, he has an incredible sense of humor. he enjoys music and sports and playing outside. terrian has a smile that just goes on and on. he has been very active, been on a little league team and loves to bowl. the brothers are strongly committed to each other, they have a strong bond to each other beyond just the normal bond of brothers. they want to find a home where they can stay there forever and stay together. last year, i shared the stories of these two stiblings on the senate floor, and they're still looking for a family to call their own. like so many children across the united states, jason, michelle, terrance and terrian are in need of a permanent, safe, loving home as a launching pad for their lives.
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i'm an adoptive parent. i always want -- i'm always encouraged to see families giving children the most important gift one can give somebody else, and that's a family. i urge my colleagues to join senator klobuchar and i in marking november as national adoption month by passing this resolution. and i would yield the floor. ms. mikulski: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. ms. mikulski: mr. president, i come to the floor as the vice chair of the appropriations committee. that means i'm the democratic leader on appropriations for this session of congress, and next to me is the distinguished senator from vermont, senator leahy, who will have that responsibility next year. i come to the floor to say that sadly we are not -- i'm concerned that we will not finish our job on appropriations the way we should finish it.
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really to do an omnibus, to get the job done, but alas, the clock is slipping away. now, one needs to know that the appropriations committee during the past year under the leadership of senator cochran of mississippi, we worked constructively, we worked in a well-paced, well-sequenced way, and we were poised to finish our work. with the appropriations committee reporting all 12 bills for floor consideration five months ago. so we were ready five months ago to bring them up by either individual bills or a series of mini buses. but we are now contemplating putting the government on auto pilot by something called a continuing resolution, a
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short-term continuing resolution that would only last for maybe three months. i'm very frustrated about this. it did not have to be this way. as i said, we have worked very constructively on -- with both sides of the aisle cooperateing to do our job. we attempted to write bills that meet the needs of the american people. bills related to national security, economic growth and meeting compelling human needs. for those who oppose -- for those republicans who are obstructionists, they really have been setting us back. for those on both sides of the aisle who want to save money, they're actually going to cost more money by delay. so where are we, though? there's only one bill, the v.a. military construction bill, that's signed into law. there are 11 other bills left. funding for every mission.
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let's start with the department of defense. our troops are fighting overseas, and we need to support them. federal law enforcement. foreign policy embassy security. infrastructure. education, from child care to college affordability. so instead of making choices about what to fund, what to cut, we leave these missions on auto pilot, spending the same amount as last year on the same items with the same policy. no business operates this way, no family operates this way. it is irresponsible to spend a trillion dollars this way with no thought on delaying important investments and thus resulting in cost to taxpayers. last week, -- so let me talk about why this really can give you heartburn. last week, the department of
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defense comptroller, mr. mike mccord, warned that the stop-gap c.r. delays ships and weapons our troops need. hello, did you hear that? it actually delays the construction of ships and the purchase of weapons our troops need. without a special provision in the c.r., d.o.d. would have to delay planned replacement for the ohio class submarine, disrupting contract awards and ultimately delaying production for the length of the c.r. these new subs are necessary. they are the backbone of our nuclear deterrent. our nuclear deterrent. but the current ship's nuclear reactors reach the end of their useful -- reached the end of their useful lives in the mid 2020's, so this isn't some new whiz-bang thing that might be untried. so without special provisions, other things will be delayed.
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what are we trying to do here? with delay procurements, we are concerned that people in this country are now facing death from heroin and opioid overdose. every governor in the united states of america has cried out to the federal government for help on heroin and opioid overdoses. we have heard on both sides of the aisle advocacy for a comprehensive approach. the problem affects every part of the country, urban and rural, every socioeconomic category. now, our appropriations bill is ready with new spending, and law enforcement, prevention, treatment and education. but in the continuing resolution, we won't get these investments, and more families will suffer. every leading authority on treatment says when you need it,
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you need to be -- you need it and you're ready to ask for it, you need to get it on the same day. just like clinicians have to act with urgency, so do we. what else won't a c.r. help? it won't help college affordability with full-year pell grants. it won't bolster security funds for the f.b.i., for border patrol, for embassy security. remember benghazi? whoa, would people love to investigate rather than legislate, benghazi was in the news. that was at the same time that the congress had cut, and particularly the house had cut embassy security considerably. but in this bill, working with both sides of the aisle, we were able to come up with appropriate money for embassy security, border control and so on. we also won't have the funds for infrastructure funding,
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particularly for roads, to improve our ports, to make our railroads safer. we won't meet the needs of children, children who are on the support, children who are in desperate need for help from central america, and then i know the only thing that we have supported on both sides of the aisle is an innovation agenda, particularly in the area of the national institute's medical research. we're going to be hopefully debating the cures act, but yet right now we have the ability to act with the funding for the national institutes of health research and also the great work done at the department of defense in research. all year long, i've come to the floor and talked about how appropriations can be used to solve problems. whether it was children exposed to lead in drinking water, whether it was in flint, michigan, the compelling story of flint, michigan.
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whether it was the fact that we need to make sure that in human infrastructure, we need to really modernize our water supply. you know, in my own hometown of baltimore, infrastructure funding could be fantastic. if we replace the baltimore water system that was built over 100 years ago, we would improve public health, we would create jobs right here in maryland and right here in baltimore, and we would leave our community in a better, safer place by getting the lead out. we need to get the lead out of our water supply, and we need to get the lead out of congress. we want to solve problems, create jobs, correct america. a c.r. is not the best way to do it. but if we are going to do a c.r., it should be for the
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shortest term -- time possible. so let me be clear. senate democrats are willing to work across the aisle and across the dome. it is our republican colleagues who need to think about this long and hard. i really would urge that you don't want to spend another half a year spinning our wheels and not serving the american people, addressing security needs and compelling human needs. as i get ready to finish my time as the ranking member on the appropriations committee, i would like to finish it by working constructively, collegially and in the best interests of the united states of america to get a real bill across the finish line for the longest time possible to provide certainty to federal agencies that are protecting america, protecting our border or we try
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to protect american jobs. there is much ahead that will lie ahead in the new term and in the new administration. we could act with certainty now for at least the funding for next year if we acted and we acted with a long-term c.r. mr. president, i could elaborate on more, but, please ... let us do our job. let's work together. there's still a few days where we could really get this done the right way. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. thune: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from south dakota. mr. thune: i ask unanimous consent to be able to conclude my remarks. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. thune: mr. president, two years ago the american people entrusted americans with the senate majority. at that time, things were in a bad way here in the senate. under democratic control, the legislative process had almost ground to

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